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The fluffiest, low calorie strawberry and lemon sheet cake
I grew up eating and absolutely loving sheet cakes. My nana’s treasured recipe notebook from the groovy 60s has hundreds of finger-licking sheet cakes, some simple, others more complex. She used to make (and still does, whenever I visit her in Romania) summer sheet cakes that are so airy and fluffy it’s almost impossible to stop eating them!
This recipe is inspired from my childhood memories, playing in the garden in the summer and only stopping when nana would call me in to have a snack – of sheet cake, of course!
For the past month or so, especially during the Corona lockdown, I’ve been trying to be more careful with my sugar intake and become inventive with my recipes to make them healthier. This recipe only has 60 calories per serving, and it’s so so incredibly delicious. As soon as they came out of the oven, I had about 3 and my partner about 6. I kid you not, I had to fight him off for the last piece!
The strawberry and lemon combination is always fail-proof in my opinion, and always manage to elevate the deliciousness level of any cake. The recipe only calls for one box of strawberries (your usual supermarket 200-250g) and one lemon. The other ingredients are typically things you have in your pantry: flour, eggs, sugar and honey.
As the recipe is very versatile, you can mix it up and add ingredients you love. You can try replacing the strawberries with almost any fruit, add different flavourings – vanilla, lemon, orange, rum, maple syrup and so on. This sheet cake is quite forgiving, so you can even whip it up quickly if you have any fruit that’s starting to be less fresh – strawberries getting a bit mushy? No worries! Just clean them the best you can, chop them up and add them to this sheet cake.
If you’re being extra careful with your diet, simply replace the sugar and honey with natural sweeteners like agave syrup or erythritol (for zero calories).
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest and ½ lemon extract
1. Pre-heat you oven to 180 °C (or 160°C with fan).
2. Separate 6 egg yolks and whites. In a large bowl, with a hand whisk mix the egg yolks with the sugar and beat until they become pale yellow and fluffy.
3. Add in 20g of honey and the zest of one lemon and incorporate. Add in 80g of flour one tbsp at a time and beat into the yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with salt until you achieve soft peaks. Add 2 tsp of lemon juice and whip until you achieve stiff peaks.
6. Mix in vanilla extract. If needed, add a tsp of sugar to make the meringue stiffer.
7. Using a spatula, slowly incorporate the egg whites into the yolk and flour mixture. Be careful not to over-mix, so your batter stays super fluffy. The goal is just to combine the ingredients, not to whip them.
8. Line a 30cm baking tin with grease-proof paper and pour in your cake mix.
9. Top with 200g chopped strawberries or any fruit of choice.
10. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 Celsius for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Let cool, slice into lovely rectangles and sprinkle with icing sugar.
12. Enjoy your guilt-free treat! It’s really addictive!
This recipe is very versatile and can be made using most fruits. I have tried it with pear, blueberries, apricots – and it is still absolutely delicious! For anyone with fruit allergies, you can easily leave the fruit out entirely or maybe get adventurous and add some chocolate.